They Made Me a Fugitive

They Made Me a Fugitive

American release poster
Directed by Alberto Cavalcanti
Produced by Nat Bronstein
Written by Noel Langley
Jackson Budd (novel)
Starring Trevor Howard
Sally Gray
Music by Marius-François Gaillard
Cinematography Otto Heller
Edited by Marjorie Saunders
Reginald Beck (sup)
A. R. Shipman Productions/
Alliance Films
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • 24 June 1947 (1947-06-24) (UK)
  • 6 March 1948 (1948-03-06) (U.S.)
Running time
99 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

They Made Me a Fugitive (released in the US as I Became a Criminal) is a 1947 British film noir set in postwar England.[1][2]

Based on the Jackson Budd novel A Convict has Escaped, the black-and-white film was directed by Alberto Cavalcanti (credited as just Cavalcanti), with brooding and atmospheric cinematography by noted cameraman Otto Heller. The script was written by playwright Noel Langley, one of the screenwriters of The Wizard of Oz.


Clem Morgan, demobilised from the Royal Air Force and unemployed after the war, is drawn into the world of crime. His psychopathic crime boss Narcy (short for Narcissus) deals in the black market, transporting goods in coffins to his headquarters in a funeral parlour. Clem finds the activity harmless enough, until one day he finds drugs in the latest coffin. Clem objects and tells his girlfriend that he will quit after one last job that night, the looting of a warehouse. Narcy betrays him, triggering the burglar alarm while he is inside. Clem manages to get back in the car before his associates drive off. When Narcy orders the driver to run down a policeman, Clem grabs the wheel in an unsuccessful attempt to save the man's life and the car crashes into a lamppost. Narcy knocks him unconscious and has him moved to the driver's seat before fleeing.

Clem is convicted and imprisoned, but escapes and evades a country-wide manhunt as he seeks revenge.



According to trade papers, the film was a "notable box office attraction" at British cinemas in 1947.[3]


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